Navel Gazing in Books Tag

saw this over at Chuckles Book Cave. The rules are incredibly simple: answer the questions with books read from 2020. Now we’ll have to see if simple is “easy” or not 😉

Describe Yourself

Ageing. And some mornings I feel every day of it!

How Do You Feel?

The Soldier. Sometimes the Culture War seems more brutal than an actual war 😦

Describe Where You Currently Live

Castle in the Air. While not exactly a castle, our third story condo is high enough when we have to carry the groceries up.

If You Could Go Anywhere, Where Would It Be?

The Tempest. I wouldn’t mind living on a deserted island right now with my every need catered to by invisible servants.

Favorite Form of Transportation

I would love to be able to fly around on a broomstick like Margarita in The Master & Margarita. That’ll beat an electric car hollow for gas mileage!

Your Best Friend Is …..

…..Above the Law and yet Mrs B STILL won’t rob a bank with me. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Maybe a Couples Therapy book would help?

You and Your Friends Are …..

NPC’s. Might as well be with various governing agencies acting like fascists and trying to control our every thought and deed!

What’s the Weather Like?

New Spring. Ha, that’s a lie! More like in the heart of winter right now!

You Fear …..

Mind Games. Seriously. I can handle bad physical things but someone messes with my mind, I’m liable to shoot them just to put an end to their douchebaggery.

What Is the Best Advice You Have To Give?

Invest in ammunition; because the world is a Target Rich Environment (Vol 2) full of idiots.

Thought For the Day?

Live Life on Full Assault Mode because only newbs play on Pansy Level. Ooh rah!

My Soul’s Present Condition?

No where near Hell’s Gate! I might not be a Saint (Tommy, NYPD) but I’m not a Hell Spawn, that’s for sure!

Well, that was MUCH easier than I expected. Feel free to use this at your discretion.

February ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 3691

Words – 1219k

Average Rating – 3.54

The Bad:

Children of Ruin – 1.5stars of utter disappointment
Auxiliary: London 2039 – 2stars of despair and robot blowjobs

The Good:

Retribution – 4.5stars for the Star Wars that should have been
Magician’s Ward – 4.5stars of fluffy regency fantasy


The Great Muppet Caper was a good continuation of the Muppet Movie Franchise. Definitely worth the watch and worth owning.

Miscellaneous Posts:


Is the month really over? Don’t toy with me, tomorrow IS March, right? February’s have always been bad for me and this one felt particularly brutal. Weather was horrible with snow, cold, rain, no sun, then some more snow. Work sucked with too much to do, not enough help, office manager being a real jerk. Blogging sucked because I’d come home exhausted and not have the energy to deal with anything online.

By the end of the month I was running on caffeine and that affected me emotionally and that made EVERYTHING seem about 10x bigger than it actually was. Pay a bill? Oh my goodness, talk about the end of the world. 3 loads of laundry when I was expecting 2? Laundrypocalypse and I’ll just go kill myself, thank you very much. Run out of soda? Job obviously didn’t know the meaning of REAL suffering.

Thankfully, by the halfway mark I realized what was going on with me and started to take steps to give me a buffer. I think I started too late though so I was in survival mode longer than I wanted to be. Still am in fact.

Cover Love:

This is not the cover I used for my review of the Path of Daggers, but of the 4 covers I’ve seen, I liked this the best. Gateways, Birgette, the Seanchan, this has it all.

Plans for Next Month:

Reviews. And then some more reviews. And just to break things up, another couple of reviews! Having the Gulag off my back has made me feel like a speed reader and I’m taking full advantage of that for as long as it lasts. 📚📕📖📗📘📙

Since I don’t want to overwhelm you all with my overly long and indepth book analyses, I’ll be sure to add a puff piece here and there. Don’t let it be said that The Bookstooge never pandered to the hoi poloi!

In regards to the aforementioned “suckiness”, if things do continue that way I’ll be pulling back from being online as much. Might not be commenting as much in general and might have to save the replies to comments on here to the weekends. Blogging in February felt like a battle and I don’t want that to continue. Blogging is supposed to be fun and I’m evaluating what all contributed to it not being fun this past month.

The Rifleman’s Creed

Ruger PC Carbine 19100

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will …

My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit …

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will …

Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace!

~Major General William H. Rupertus 1941’ish (USMC)

While my carbine isn’t a “rifle” (and carbine is pronounced car bean for anyone wondering), it is as close as I’ll probably get to one. Rifles have a longer barrel and tend to weigh a bit more. For someone as short as me, a carbine is just easier to handle. It also makes for a great home defense weapon without the kick of a shotgun. It is something that even Mrs B can use. It is also easily taken apart for portability. (a push of a button and twist of the barrel and voila, it fits in my backpack for hiking!)

Anyway, back to the Rifleman’s Creed. When I was picking up my gun the other month at the store, several of the men there were discussing the Rifleman’s Creed and one of the younger guys was enthusiastically and quite vociferously saying that it had been around since the Revolutionary War days (late 1700’s for you non-Americans). The owner of the shop ended up asking everyone in the store what they thought. I guessed World War One, as only a mass produced weapon can produce a line like “There are many like it, but this one is mine“. The shop owner guessed around the Korean War (1950) and there were guesses all over the place. It was quite an interesting little topic of discussion. Of course, after we’d all had our say, Mr Young and Vociferous looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered it was of the World War Two era.

I have already replaced the magazine well so it can accept glock mags. I’ve also bought several Glock17 33round mags.

Taking this fine piece of equipment apart, changing its guts and putting it back together again definitely falls under the “I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel” aspect. Removing a spacer in the buttstock also made this slightly more comfortable for me, as I don’t have space gorilla length arms. The next order of business is to get a sling for it and then either a red dot sight or an actual scope. Given my diabetes and how it affects my eyes, I’m leaning towards an actual scope. What good will a red dot sight do me if I can’t see the danged red dot at 25 yards? What I’d REALLY like is a suppressor so if I’m forced to use this as a home defense gun I won’t make myself deaf. Of course, a suppressor costs as much as the gun itself so that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

One of the main reasons I chose this gun over some of the others is because it uses 9mm ammo, the same as my Sig Sauer P938 pistol. The PC in the name (PC Carbine 19100) stands for Pistol Caliber.

Being able to use the same ammo for both my guns is a big deal for me. It makes buying, storing and using just that much easier. It is also cheap and one of the most common types of ammo, so availability is pretty decent. A gun won’t do anyone any good without the ammo to back it up. A rifleman must be aware of all aspects of his weapon, including the ammo. I feel like I’ve got that part down pat too.

That should wrap up this little ramble. Thanks for hanging in until the end.

Project X – B

For all the bionic details about what led to the Creation of Project X, please visit the Intro Post. It’s totally worth six million bionic dollars.


I like bananas. Almost as much as apples in fact. Bananas make a fantastic breakfast for someone who isn’t a breakfast person. Sweet, easy on the stomach and not filling or weighing you down, bananas are God’s gift to those who get up early and take a while to get going.


Those frakking bots, especially the spanisho ones! While I’ve obviously ranted about bots before, I’d just like to take a minute and think some horribly nasty thoughts towards the people who created them ….. there, nasty thoughts thought. Mission Accomplished! Feel free in joining me after this post in burning those people at the stake!

And thus today’s tutorial on the Letter B is complete. Stay tuned for our next thrilling episode, featuring a Mystery Letter that you’ll never C coming! Same bat channel, same bat time!

Currently Reading & Quote: The Diamond Throne

Sparhawk shook his head. ‘Just a bath and a warm bed.’ He turned to his horse, who stood dozing with one hind leg cocked slightly so that his hoof rested on its tip. ‘Wake up, Faran,’ he told the animal.

Faran opened his eyes and gave him a flat, unfriendly stare.

‘Go with this knight,’ Sparhawk instructed firmly. ‘Don’t try to bite him, or kick him, or pin him against the side of the stall with your rump – and don’t step on his feet, either.’

The big roan briefly laid back his ears and then sighed.

~Chapter 1

Hahahahahahaa! Ahhhhhh, how can you not love that? Of course, that is about the third time that the word “flat” or “flatly” has been used and it’s only chapter 1. I’d forgotten that aspect of this trilogy.

#6Degrees – Redhead By the Side of the Road to …..

This month we are starting with Redhead By the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler. Tyler needs to get a new agent if they allowed this cover to grace her pwecious wittle baby.

That is the world’s most boring cover ever! I went looking to find some other version that did’t put me to sleep and you know what? THIS cover was the least boring of all the ones I found. How pathetic is that? This book was published by Knopf publishing. Shame on you Knopf!

Knopf also published the overhyped, overblown and pretty much horribly written Inheritance Cycle by Paolini. He was too young, too much influenced by Lord of the Rings and by Star Wars. Thankfully, the source material is still good stuff!

And even when Star Wars is Shakespeare’ized, it is still good stuff! While my experience with Shakespeare hasn’t been all puppy dogs and roses, I have read one or two decent tales from the Bard.

King John is where my Shakespeare journey seemed to really take off. His comedies, his Ancient Histories, well, they were all hit or miss. But these Histories, well, so far every one has been great! Sometimes an author doesn’t hit their groove but when they do, whoowhee!

Speaking of groovitude, is this cover groovy or what? Wylie and Balmer wrote a great duology with their Bronson Beta books and it’s great early SF if you’re looking for some pre-1950’s stuff. Probably time to add these to my TBR again because some books are just worth reading again and again and again. Of course, not all books are like that.

In fact, some books aren’t worth reading in the first place but you don’t know that until you’ve finished the blasted thing. Bios was just such a book. I wished I had dnf’d it but at least I avoided any more by the author. DNF’ing is a long and honored tradition here in Bookstoogelandia.

The Web of the Witch World by Andre Norton is my first recorded DNF back in 2001. I’m sure it was a wrenching experience for young me back then but the pain of that first DNF has faded over the years as I’ve become jaded and almost neglible about such things. I am glad young me can’t see what a casual DNF’er I am now. I’m sure it would break his heart.

And that is how you go from the Redhead by the Side of the Road to Web of the Witch World.

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month, even though I have noticed they’ve been doing better about this.

Project X – A

For all the bionic details about what led to the Creation of Project X, please visit the Intro Post. It’s totally worth six million bionic dollars.


I like apples. A lot. In fact, I try to eat an apple every day for my lunch. Skin, fruit, core and seeds, I eat the whole thing! While I’m ok with the occasional granny smith, I prefer the sweeter varieties.


Yeah, not a big fan of arguments anymore. I used to be. Back in my teens and 20’s, I’d throw down the proverbial gauntlet and let the metaphorical blood flow like a river! Now? Just thinking about arguing makes me tired. Plus, I think I can count on one hand the times someone else has changed my mind by arguing with me, so I’m sure the reverse is also true.

I realize I’m starting Project X off pretty light, both in terms of subject matter and length. However, we’re in this for the long haul. If you haven’t checked your alphabet lately, there are 26 of those rascally letters. To chase them all down, even bionically powered as I am, it’s going to take true grit and determination. Pacing is essential to Supreme Success.

Book Give-Away: Twofer Edition

The Rules:

United States only unless you’re willing to pay shipping for out of country. Should that be the case Paypal will be involved and paypal fees’s will be added. So if you’re not living in the US, think real hard about entering. I’ll be paying for shipping in the US, as the bookrate is still pretty cheap these days.

I’m going to try to vary what I’m offering, but most will be of the SF/F variety, from paperbacks to hardcovers. Some manga might be involved in the future. I’ll be putting up pictures each post so you know what you’ll actually be getting. 

If you win a giveaway, you can’t try again for the next 2. Kind of arbitrary, but I really don’t want one person to sweep in and take everything  But when that 3rd one rolls around, enter away! If I get a lot of spammers and non-followers entering, well, they’ll be “dealt with”.

To enter, just shoot me an email at Bookstooge at Gmail with “Book Giveaway – (Insert Book/Series Name)” in the subject line. I’ll be using a random dice selector to determine the winner. I will announce the winner in the next Give-Away post and email them to work out the details. 

These rules are subject to change without notice. And don’t blame me if the police arrest you for winning that “How to Murder Your Boss and Get Away with It” book. You didn’t have to enter.

This Month’s Books:

It was a tie between the Deryni novels by Katherine Kurtz and the Shadowmarch tetralogy by Tad Williams. As such, I’m going to offer both and choose 2 winners.

The Deryni series, all in sfbc sized hardcover and in very good condition, consists of:

  • Camber of Culdi
  • Saint Camber
  • Camber the Heretic
  • The Bishops Heir
  • The Kings Justice
  • Quest for Saint Camber

The Shadowmarch books, also in sfbc hardcover and good condition, consists of:

  • Shadowmarch
  • Shadowplay
  • Shadowrise
  • Shadowheart

This Give-Away is open until Friday, March 5th and I’ll post the next giveaway Sunday, March 7th.